Everyone deserves to feel safe in the workplace. Whether you work in a warehouse, in construction, in fire rescue, or in a scientific laboratory, safety should always be a priority. If your job means that you could be exposed to dangerous or toxic materials, you need to make sure you are wearing the clothing that is intended to keep you out of harm’s way.
But what exactly is clothing that is designed to keep you out of harm’s way? What does it consist of? And why does it make a difference?
Clothing that is designed to keep you safe within the workplace is called Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE works to minimise an individual’s exposure to risks, hazards, and dangers.
These dangers depend significantly on the nature of your occupation. If you work in a lab, your concerns will likely be related to your potential exposure to chemicals. If you work on a building site, you will be focused on protecting yourself against falling debris or materials. If you are a professional in fire rescue, then avoiding burns or respiratory concerns will be top priority.
There are a vast range of needs when it comes to effective PPE. This means that there is an equally diverse range of forms that the PPE can take. One thing is guaranteed though, you’ll need PPE made from top quality materials. If you are wondering about what the most important forms of safety clothing are and why, then we have the answers. Simply read on to find out more.
The most important forms of safety clothing
Protect your feet by wearing boots
Boots can protect your feet from a variety of hazards. If you work on a building site, steel-cap toe boots can offer really effective protection against falling objects. If you are carrying a lot of heavy material, it is not unlikely that you may drop something now and again. Good quality boots will protect the delicate bones in your feet and toes from breaking upon impact. Boots can also offer protection from chemicals and hazardous materials. Creating a barrier between the chemical and your skin, boots avoid corrosive materials reaching your skin. Boots are definitely a necessary form of PPE.
Stay visible with hi-vis jackets
Making sure you are visible in a work environment is critical to ensuring your safety. You need to be noticeable by both co-workers and passersby—especially if you work in public construction. Don a high vis jacket to increase your visibility. This decreases the chances of people missing you in their eye line, and protects you from falling victim to collisions or other accidents.
Wear gloves to keep your hands safe
Gloves work in a similar way to boots, in that they create an effective barrier between your skin and hazardous materials. Gloves can reduce the risk of cutting skin on sharp objects, or from corrosive material that can cause serious damage to skin. Heavy-duty protective gloves should be worn by anyone who works within a high-risk environment.
Protect your brain with effective headwear
When you think of a construction worker, the image of a yellow hardhat won’t be far behind. Headwear is a common and very important part of PPE. Protecting your skull is a top priority as your brain is the most important organ in your body. Make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk of serious injury. Wear a hardhat as you work.
Look after your eyes with eye protection
Protecting your eyes from hazards should be a critical consideration when working in a high risk environment. Flying debris and chemicals can cause serious and permanent damage to your eyes, so avoiding contact is non-negotiable. Use strong protective goggles to minimise the risk of your eyes coming into contact with hazardous material.
Give your ears some TLC with effective ear protection
When working within a hazardous environment, it is easy to consider physical risks. However, loud noises can pose serious danger to the health of your eyes. Even if the noise is tolerable within a short period of time, long term exposure to loud noise can cause serious health problems to your ears.
Conditions like tinnitus and Noise Induced Hearing Loss are to be expected if you don’t wear protective equipment. However, lack of ear protection can lead to an even wider range of health problems such as increased stress and lack of sleep, which can in turn increase blood pressure, and even contribute to the development of heart disease.
Look after your lungs with respiratory protection
As you can probably imagine, breathing in the fumes and dust created in certain workplaces can be very dangerous. You can develop a variety of serious respiratory diseases if you have long term exposure to these materials. Conditions such as asthma, lung cancer, alveolitis, or even asbestosis, can all be painful and life limiting. Reduce your chances of developing serious respiratory disease by wearing thick protective face masks, full body suits, or visors.
What’s the lesson?
Working is important, but nothing is more important than your health. Make sure the two go hand in hand by protecting yourself within a hazardous workplace. Wear the effective PPE mentioned above to drastically reduce your risk of serious injury or illness.
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